Former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Germany midfielder, Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from professional football at 34.
The player who won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 has decided to hang up his playing boots after over 25 years of professional football. His journey in football has seen him play in Germany, Spain, England and Turkey.
Ozil played 254 times for Arsenal and won four FA Cups with the Gunners. He also made 159 appearances for Real Madrid, winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Writing on Instagram, Ozil revealed that it was becoming “more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football”, with injuries playing a part in his decision.
“After thoughtful consideration, I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football,” the statement read.
“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now, and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity.
“But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more apparent that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.
“It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs – Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Fenerbahce and Basaksehir – and the coaches who supported me, plus teammates who have become friends.
“Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support through the good times and the bad.
“Thank you to all my fans who have shown me so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club I was representing.
“Now I’m looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters, Eda and Ela – but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels.”
The German played 605 professional games for his different clubs and scored 98 times, representing the German national team in 92 matches.
Ozil stopped playing for the Germans in 2018 controversially after he was snapped with the president of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
He did not feel his manager at the time, Joachim Löw, supported him enough, with the issue dividing the German public and causing a debate on racism and dual nationality.
However, we will never forget the magic the midfielder produced on the pitch when he played for his clubs and for the German team in the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.